Who can adopt?
- There is no upper age limit to adopt but adopters need to be at least 21 years old and have the potential to provide care and support for the child through to adulthood.
- Agencies are looking for adopters all of the time and for persons who have the physical and mental energy to care for demanding children, and whose lifestyle suggests they will still have that energy when the child is a teenager or young adult. Older children are among those children who wait for the longest so adoption agencies are keen to hear from people who can give a permanent and loving home to an older child.
- Single? No problem – children have been adopted into stable, loving homes by single parents and couples, whatever their gender or sexual orientation, for many years. Since 30 December 2005 unmarried couples in England and Wales can apply to adopt jointly.
- No ethnic matching – there are children from many different backgrounds waiting to be adopted. As long as you meet the child’s needs you can adopt children of any ethnicity. People from ethnic origins and religions can adopt although some religions and cultures have their own perspectives on this. It is essential that any family with whom a child is placed is in a strong position to meet the child’s emotional, identity, health and development needs. Over many years, research and practice experience indicates that children usually thrive and do best when brought up in a family that reflects or promotes their ethnic, cultural or religious identity. What this means in practice is that efforts are made to find a family that reflects or can promote the child’s identity. This search will always need to be balanced against the importance of minimising any delay in placing the child.
- It’s quicker than you think – In fact, you can become approached as an adopter within six months and can have a child placed with you within three months after that.
- Disabilities or not, you can still adopt – Health problems and disabilities are not barriers to adoption, provided you can care for the child you adopt – but everyone has to have a medical examination and health issues will need to be explored.
- Pets are allowed! – Provided your pet does not pose a threat to the child’s health or safety, then it can be an excellent addition to the family.
- Renting, or worried about space? – To become an adopter in England, you don’t need to be a home-owner, and you may have priority for council housing. If you have space and security to care for children as they grow up then you will always be considered.
- Wage is no barrier – Being on a low income or indeed state benefits should not stop you from becoming an adopter. You may, in fact, be eligible for Tax Credits or other state benefits and allowances, such as Disability Living Allowance or Carers Allowance if you to adopt a child with a disability.
- You can adopt if you already have children – and you can adopt more than one child at once – some children will have siblings also waiting to be adopted.
- British resident? – You need to have been living in the British Isles for a least 12 months to apply for an adoption order.
- Criminal record? – A record of offences will need to be carefully looked into but, apart from some offences against children, having a criminal record in itself will not necessarily rule someone out.
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